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I had a nicad battery blow up in flight over northern Kenya at night in one Mrs Windsor's HS Argosys just over 40 years ago.

We were going from Aden to Nairobi and had luckily just passed over the Ethiopian mountains when fumes became apparent. The battery box was in an electrical compartment downstairs in the freight bay/passenger compartment at the forward end of the port fuselage.

The F/E went to investigate and came back upstairs to get the asbestos gloves and some tools. He came back to report that the battery was overheating but that he had disconnected both terminals and therefore we should not have a problem until we got on the ground.

About 20 minutes later there was a muffled explosion when the battery blew apart. Fortunately, the damage was contained within the compartment and no one was hurt.

We did an emergency descent (which wasn't very far in an Argosy) and I had complete confidence in the fact that my navigator knew exactly where Mt Kenya was in the dark.

The interesting thing was that the thermal safety strip on the battery did not work as advertised which meant that there was nothing to stop the catalytic reaction once it got started. Needless to say, a lot of aircraft skin had to be replaced.

The funny bit (there is always a funny bit) was that 30 or so of the punters downstairs were going to Nairobi for a religious get together. They started community singing and Land of Hope and Glory could clearly be heard upstairs on the flightdeck!

That was a great help.









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